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Here’s everything that happened at UFC Vegas 75 last night | Vettori vs. Cannonier

Last night (Sat., June 17, 2023), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned home to UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada for UFC Vegas 75. Both halves of the main event were accustomed to five-round Apex affairs, as this was hardly new ground for top Middleweight contenders Marvin Vettori and Jared Cannonier, who were fighting to get back in the title picture. In addition, top Lightweight prospect Arman Tsarukyan faced an unexpected threat in Joaquim Silva, who’s known to play spoiler. Those two bouts were clearly the most notable of the dozen match ups, but there were some intriguing notes throughout.

Let’s take a look at UFC Vegas 75’s standout performances and techniques:

UFC Fight Night: Vettori v Cannonier Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

A Tough Way To Make A Living

Dear lord, Cannonier beat the bejeezus out of Marvin Vettori.

In round one, I was really impressed with the Italian. His combinations were sharp, and his counters were crisp. He was moving his head well and stinging Cannonier. He really got off to a great start, and it seemed like the evolution of his game would be on display.

WRONG! Cannonier stormed back in the second and dropped flurries that would’ve knocked out the rest of the Middleweight Top 10. His right hand landed with a terrifying consistency, and Vettori was in a world of hurt. Somehow, though, he never actually suffered a knockdown.

Vettori’s chin is one of the best in MMA history. After this fight, there’s no doubt. Surviving the second alone was a Mark Hunt-like display of durability, but Vettori kept trading for another 15 minutes! Cannonier set the Middleweight record for significant strikes landed, nearly hitting 250, and he’s arguably the division’s hardest hitter!

I don’t want to make this section all about the defeated fighter, but it was shocking. On the Cannonier end, he did great work in varying up the timing and delivery of his right hand, which landed like clockwork. He did great work in freezing Vettori up with heavy body kicks or a snappy jab, then stepping in hard with fast, powerful shots.

Cannonier’s physical gifts are nearly as ridiculous as Vettori’s chin. How can a 39 year old throw so many fast, powerful strikes and shoot takedowns for 25 minutes at 185 lbs? It’s genuinely mind-blowing.

UFC Fight Night: Tsarukyan v Silva Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

The Pressure To Perform

Arman Tsarukyan might have the most hype behind him of any man on the Lightweight roster. At 26 years of age, he’s already in the Top 10 and could easily be in the Top Five. He’s still being brought up fairly slowly, despite looking ready for the Dustin Poirier’s and Justin Gaethje’s of the division.

Joaquim Silva is not those men. He’s not as accomplished and frankly not as good. A short-notice replacement opponent, Silva was one of the few men willing to step up and challenge the blue chip prospect.

This puts Tsarukyan in an interesting position. He doesn’t just have to win, he has to live up to expectations. People don’t know Silva, so they expect Tsarukyan to cruise to victory and win effortless. That’s what the betting odds imply, right?

The tricky part is that this is Lightweight, not Heavyweight. The unranked fighters are still really good! Silva didn’t just roll over when taken down by Tsarukyan. He survived bad positions and continually worked to fight hands and escape. He did not give up an easy finish.

In the second, Tsarukyan went after Silva on the feet — a bold and unnecessary move. He could’ve kept wrestling, but he was surely spurred on by the pressure to dispatch an unranked foe. Tsarukyan landed some really ripping shots, but a counter left hook also nearly took his head off and ruined everything.

Fortunately, Tsarukyan recovered and then overwhelmed his opponent in the final frame. Hopefully, his gamble to chase the finish paid off, because he deserves to be in the cage with elite opposition. Otherwise, each fight like this is risky with little reward, especially considering the pressure he faces to live up to the hype.

UFC Fight Night: Sabatini v Almeida Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Sabatini Bounces Back

Pat Sabatini had a lot of hype prior to getting steamrolled by Damon Jackson. But hey, it’s MMA, that happens some times! What matters really is how Sabatini responded to that defeat, and he passed that test with flying colors.

Opposite the dangerous and experienced Lucas Almeida, Sabatini’s grappling flowed wonderfully. With a dozen seconds, he had the Brazilian pinned along the fence beneath his wrestling pressure. It didn’t take long for Sabatini to secure his first takedown, and he methodically worked into mount. It took some time, but he utterly controlled the first and landed some heavy shots as well.

It took about a minute in the second round for Sabatini to score his second takedown, which would be his final of the fight. A few more ground strikes got the blood really flowing, allowing Sabatini to wrap up a tight arm triangle choke and return to the win column in style.

UFC Fight Night: Hernandez v Bondar Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

A Wonky Undercard

The preliminary portion of the evening featured some ... questionable judging and officiating in fights that otherwise weren’t overly remarkable. For a recap on that section of the night, check out my full article HERE!

UFC Fight Night: Flick v Costa Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Additional Thoughts

  • Juan Torres defeats Nikolas Motta via first-round knockout: Motta looked sharp early on. The counter striker’s left hook was connecting at a good clip, resulting in Torres landing little else but kicks. Clearly, taking a few of those hooks to the chin taught him a lesson, however, as Torres perfect
  • Alessandro Costa defeats Jimmy Flick via second-round knockout: It would be harsh to judge Costa on a short-notice loss to Amir Albazi; there ain’t many Flyweights beating that man on a week’s worth of training! Fortunately, Costa gave a much better account of himself here. He completely shut down Flick’s dangerous grappling, punishing the jiu-jitsu ace on the feet with nasty body shots and low kicks in the first. Flick was debilitated by the low kicks in particular, and by the second, he opted to pull guard rather than take more of them. In response, Costa pounded his head through the floor with elbows!
  • Kyung Ho Kang defeats Cristian Quinonez via first-round rear naked choke: Hardcore fight fans know “Mr. Perfect.” Though he never quite developed into a title contender, the South Korean has been a damn hard out in a tough division for quite some time now. He proved far too much for Quinonez, dropping him early with a crispy left hook then jumping on the neck to score his fifth victory in six fights. I’m still not sold on a run at the top of the 135-pound ladder, but it’s always worth tuning in for Kang’s fights.

For complete UFC Vegas 75: “Cannonier vs. Vettori” results and play-by-play, click HERE.

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